Public Movement at Tel Aviv University

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Public Movement, University Exercise (Heidelberg, 2010)/Photo: Markus Kaesler

Public Movement is a unique presence in the Israeli cultural scene, their art defies categorization, yet their name says it all. Researching, exploring and questioning those actions that take place in the public sphere through choreographed actions, movement and ritual, some of their past actions include: Accident (2006), Rally (Rabin Square, 2007), and Emergency (scheduled for the cancelled 2008 Acco Festival). Needless to say, the term “mere onlooker” is inevitably transformed by these actions.

Their collaborators for the next action, scheduled to take place on the Tel Aviv University campus, are no less than the Israeli police force [Update: the Israeli police force will not be taking part in the event. There was an attempt made to collaborate, but ultimately they announced that they will not be participating. 7.12.2010]. Taking place on three consecutive days, December 7 – 9, 2010, the action will include: a show of political force, a ceremony, a demonstration, disorderly conduct, a march, an exercise in civic behavior and a lecture with Dr. Yigal Dotan and Carusella (alternative hard rock duo Tamar Aphek and Guy Schecter).

Interacting with the public, the action will include a series of different events that will take place over the course of about an hour and a half on the lawns, the square in front of the Central Library, Beit Hatfusoth – the Museum of the Jewish People, and the Gilman Lecture Hall. The action will consist of different scenes of public gatherings and extreme events at the University. The action explores the possibilities of contact, movement and the exchange of ideas generated in the University environment.

In a press release, Public Movement announced that this is the first time that the Israeli Police has participated in an artistic action. A special force of the police will perform with Public Movement an exercise of disorderly conduct on campus that is defined as “a performance of public choreography.” At the end of each evening’s action there will be a gathering of all the participants for drinks and discussion.

Founded in November 2006 by Dana Yahalomi and Omer Krieger, Public Movement describe themselves as exploring “the political and aesthetic possibilities residing in a group of people acting together. The movement operates in public spaces, studies and creates public choreographies, forms of social order, overt and covert rituals. Among Public Movement’s actions in the past and in the future: manifestations of presence, fictional acts of hatred, new folk dances, synchronized procedures of movement, spectacles, marches, inventing and reenacting moments in the life of individuals, communities, social institutions, peoples, states, and of humanity. It is a representative group, a selected team of artists, with the prospect of becoming a mass movement.”

Carusella Tamar Aphek on guitar and vocals, Guy Schecter on drums and vocals super loud alternative music scene

One of Public Movement’s directions of artistic research is the physical actions and physical-professional skills of the different government agencies in operating equipment and in the overt actions of security and rescue forces. Public Movement suggests that citizens, under the sponsorship of art, exercise their citizenship and literally embody their identities as “the public”. Public Movement invites the public to come in contact with government forces and the regulators of behavior in the public sphere during mass emergency events, to study them, understand them and confront them as an aspect of the actions of the state. Public Movement has collaborated with the Home Front Command, Fire fighters, Magen David Adom (first aid organization, similar to Red Cross), and ZAKA (a volunteer religious organization that assists the police, they identify and provide religious burial services for victims of catastrophes) on the action Emergency that was developed for the 2008 Acco Festival.

The action at Tel Aviv University is based on “University Exercise” that took place at Heidelberg University in Germany in 2010. The action was produced by the Heidelberg Municipal Theatre and in cooperation with the university, local fire fighters and the Heidelberg police.

Participating in the action: Public Movement members Hagar Ofir, Gali Librider, Luciana Kaplun, and Saar Székely; members of the new Public Movement student group; Carusella and Dr. Yigal Dotan. The action will be headed by Omer Krieger and the research coordinator is Saar Székely. Public Movement is led by Omer Krieger and Dana Yahalomi, the operations manager is Eyal Wexler.

The action will take place on December 7, 8, and 9, 2010. Meeting point is Antin Square (the main entrance to the campus on Haim Levanon Street in Tel Aviv) at 19:30. Bus lines that go to the Tel Aviv University Campus: Dan 7, 13, 24, 25, 45, 121, 127; Egged 74, 86. The action is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport Dance Department, The Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and with the cooperation of Beit Hatfusoth, and the Chair for Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries in honor of Emanuel Hertzikovitch, Tel Aviv University.

AYELET DEKEL